The Philadelphia Daily News begins a two-day series with an editorial about the past ten years of Philadelphia’s parks.
Ten years after this newspaper’s editorial series “Acres of Neglect” began a multiyear focus on the poor conditions, bizarre governance structure and unrealized potential of the city’s parks, we are pleased to report significant change – in fact, a transformation.
In 2011, Philadelphia parks – at 10,500 acres, one of the largest urban park systems in the world – no longer are the dumping ground we found in 2001, when they were littered with thousands of old tires and hundreds of abandoned cars and assorted appliances, not to mention building materials and hazardous waste.
From parks that lacked basic amenities like open restrooms – but didn’t lack excuses for the situation – the city’s parks now offer substantial relief for visitors. In the past 10 years, the parks have added at least 31 new and improved attractions, including several cafes and museums.
In 2001, Philadelphia was isolated from a then-nascent national movement to recognize the importance of public space in the lives of cities. In 2011, it has become a leader in that movement.